"The Lego Movie," a new 3-D animated feature from the makers of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and "21 Jump Street," arrives in theaters today with an impressive roster of vocal talents and a lot of buzz.
It was only a matter of time before the Danish toy would hit the silver screen -- Lego has expanded far beyond its line of colorful construction blocks to include video games, direct-to-video movies, retail stores, theme parks and attractions like the Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg.
Lego combines with other iconic pop-culture properties in a series of fun, kid-friendly and madly addictive video games. British game developer Traveller's Tales first tackled the Lego license in 2005 with "Lego Star Wars: The Video Game," in which players take control of Luke Skywalker and pals in a blocky, parody version of the galaxy far, far away.
Indiana Jones, "The Lord of the Rings," Harry Potter and a bevy of superheroes have gotten the Lego video-game treatment in titles available across all major gaming platforms; I'm partial to Capt. Jack Sparrow and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" game myself, complete with a hidden level that re-creates the classic Disneyland attraction.
Traveller's Tales will bring us at least two new Lego games this year, starting, of course, with "The Lego Movie Video Game." The new game puts you in control of Emmet (Chris Pratt in the movie), Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) in their quest to defeat Lord Business (Will Ferrell). While all of Traveller's Tales' Lego games have featured the iconic building blocks, this one will allow players to construct items piece-by-piece with virtual Lego sets for the first time.
The game will be available today for PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii.
Arriving later this year on all those systems -- possibly in time for the theatrical release of "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" in December -- is "Lego: The Hobbit," which will cover the events of Peter Jackson's first two epics based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tome.
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald copy editor and a tireless consumer of pop culture. You can follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.